Cotabato’s first COVID-19 testing machine, isolation facility now fully operational

M’LANG, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 14 Oct) – Cotabato Governor Nancy Alaan Catamco led the blessing and inauguration on Wednesday of the more than P70-million worth of temporary and treatment monitoring facility and the reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing machine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) located at M’lang District Hospital in the Poblacion here.

Catamco claimed the COVID-19 testing facility is the first in North Cotabato

Dr. Philbert Malaluan, second district board member and head of the Incident Command Post (ICP) of the province’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), said it took almost seven months to construct the 26-bed isolation facility.

The facility, which is placed inside the government-owned M’lang District Hospital, is equipped with ventilators, delivery room, recovery station, and other structures, Malaluan said.

The two-story structure, which cost P30 million to build, can cater at least 10 severe COVID-19 patients. The facility has 10 mechanical ventilators, which cost P4 million each.

The RT-PCR machine, which was donated by the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), can read and analyze at least 1,000 swab samples or specimens in a day, Malaluan said. The machine reportedly costs P15 million.

The EDC is producer of geothermal power, with its 105-megawatt plants located in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

Catamco, in her speech, said the COVID-19 provincial isolation facility and the testing machine are among their responses to President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders to contain the spread of the virus.

Malaluan said that apart from the construction of an isolation facility in M’lang, one of Catamco’s commendable efforts in fighting the virus was the creation of the Task Force Sagip Stranded North Cotabateños, which has already rescued some 23,000 locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipino workers since the start of the pandemic.

Also present during the inauguration were DOH-12 regional director Aristides Tolentino Tan, Cotabato third district Representative Jose Ping-Ping Tejada, M’lang Mayor Russel Abonado, Dr. Eva Rabaya of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, Dr. Glicerio Sotea of the M’lang Rural Health Unit, and EDC representatives. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)